Working party to review Cavalier heart screening

The Kennel Club has announced that, following a meeting with representatives of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed clubs and the Veterinary Cardiology Society, "progress has been made in developing a working party to review and improve the heart screening of the breed within the UK".

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is sadly prone to mitral valve disease (MVD), which can eventually lead to fatal heart failure. While it affects other small breeds, the Cavalier is especially vulnerable - about 20 times more likely to develop it, and as early as five years of age. The hope is that, with careful breeding based on proper screening, this disease's incidence can be brought down to more acceptable levels.

"The working group will review the current breed club scheme within the UK and ways in which it can collect information more robustly to a stage where it meets criteria where the results may be recorded on the Kennel Club database and be published on the Health Tests Result Finder, alleviating the need to submit echocardiograms to Denmark," a Kennel Club statement reads.

"As previously announced, the Kennel Club has agreed to record the results of the Danish heart scheme, so for any dogs that have participated in the scheme their results will be recorded on the Kennel Club system and published on the Health Test Results Finder."

Overall, these past months have been positive for this unlucky breed: not only have scientists made a breakthrough concerning the treatment of MVD, which delays the onset of heart failure and allows affected dogs to live longer and healthier lives, but promising advances have been made in the study of Chiari malformation and Syringomyelia - two dreadful and tightly intertwined disorders that plague the Cavalier King Charles spaniel.